The surge of Asian hate is another huge step back for civilization. As a society, we’ve taken too many steps backward but in the United States this contempt for Asians, Orientals, “yellow people,” has been around since at least the mid-1800s when Chinese immigrants were being exploited to build the railroads and do other types of hard labor that others would not do. “Orientals” back in the day weren’t even thought of as human beings and certainly weren’t treated as such. In the image below the Oriental is depicted as a murderous monster.
My father and his family (my family) were subjected to the most contemptible of hate crimes. The internment in concentration camps in the USA during World War II. My dad was a natural-born American citizen, stripped of his civil rights, and sent to prison camp without due process because he was of Japanese ancestry. The executive order for all Japanese to report for incarceration was signed by President Rosevelt. Hate crimes towards citizens of all colors/races start from leadership down and are motivated by fear. For more information about the experience that affected over 100,000 Japanese Americans, you can read my article published on The Good Men Project.
I am a third-generation Japanese American (Sansei) born in Los Angeles and grew up in a neighborhood composed of mainly minority races. In Mid City, now called Arlington Heights, there was a higher percentage of black families, mixed with Latino and many different races of Asians. There were very few white families in our neighborhood at that time, but with the current gentrification of Mid City, the ethnic mix is becoming more equalized. I’m also a baby boomer so my life experience is markedly different from the millennial adults and other generations who grew up later in mid and central Los Angeles. In my day there was Chinatown, Little Tokyo and Korea Town was just starting to bloom. Now there is Filipino Town, Thai Town and there’s a Little Saigon in Orange County.
A sad aspect that has prevailed over the whole Asian community is it’s not a whole community. By this, I mean Asians silo themselves by associating and identifying only with their race of origin, and view other Asian races as separate and not related ethnically. When I was growing up as a kid through to adulthood, there was friction between Japanese and just about every other Asian race. Groups of Asians were brought up with prejudice and were coached by their family and friends to hate other Asian races. These feelings stemmed from conflicts that can be traced to the ancient history of oppression, imperialism, wars, violence, and inequality of all kinds between the countries in Asia. I am not implying that the discord between various people in Asia wasn’t devastating to the victims involved. My point to this is, we cannot hate one another if we want to stand in solidarity against discrimination, bigotry, and hate crimes.
For the sake of the current wave of “Asian Hate” cresting and crashing upon innocent people, Asians, all of us, need to stand up and be heard as one solid group of people. We all have one thing in common as an Asian community; your ancestors or you immigrated to the USA to establish a life as an American. They came with dreams of freedom and to have the ability to forge a life that includes opportunities to prosper along with the human and civil rights they could never have in their country of birth.
Though the subject of this piece is Asian-focused, I believe solidarity should apply to everyone. We have different views and preferences about politics, religion, art, sports, music, etc., but we should all be for a united community. Each of us respecting our rights to live here in the United States under peace and prosperity.
Author: Karen Nish Nishimura 4/6/2021
#stopasianhate #peace #asain #japanese #fear #peace4theplanet